To the Colorado Division of Wildlife:
I'm writing this letter to publicly thank you for the awesome job you've done raising funds to create and maintain our sport fishing habitat through downtown Steamboat Springs. Our town is much better off economically, environmentally, aesthetically and recreationally thanks to your efforts.
I do think you're making a mistake requesting the elimination of "all non-angling crafts" upstream of the Fifth Street Bridge; although, the jury is still out regarding the legality of running rivers that dissect private property. I believe it is all our responsibility to provide and maintain public access to all American rivers. There has been a lot of discussion about conflicting uses of rivers here in Steamboat Springs. Consider tubing and fly fishing. Some argue that there is no conflict because fishing is best done in the early morning and later in the evening. Fly fishing is excellent during the fall, winter and early spring, while tubing is most fun during the dog days of summer. Others say the conflict is not fly fishing and tubing but rather fly fishing in an urban environment.
To this point, the discussion has been about the fish. Now it is about the fishermen. Let's bring the discussion back to what is most important ... the health of the Yampa River. What can we do to maintain a healthy river and a healthy economy (which we need for the former)? Let's all rally to the real dangers to the Yampa - water quality and quantity, Shell Oil, beetle kill and the fires that will follow. Let's teach safety and respect. Let's openly discuss the issues. My solution is simple. My mantra is one of respect - respect of other river users, respect of riverside property users, and most important, respect of the Yampa River.
We should rally the troops, including Yampa Valley Fly Fishers, Friends of the Yampa, Yampatika, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, just to mention a very few. Let's go to the schools, the resort management companies and the discount sellers of plastic watercraft and defend the Yampa River. Let's teach about the need for respect.
How about a bumper sticker on every car that reads, "Respect the Yampa"? Let's encourage our civic leaders to put more teeth into mitigation of non-point source pollution.
Let's do what we can to reduce the impact we'll see if (when?) there is a substantial burn on upstream. While we're at it, we can make sure everybody wears a life jacket above 500 cfs. Whether or not you agree with me, please take the time to write. Participate in the public forum. Or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll make sure your voice is counted. If you can make it, there will be a public meeting of the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission at 5:30 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Let your voice be known.
Peter Van De Carr
President, Backdoor Sports Ltd